The French Senate pushes Paris to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh

PARIS (AP) – The French Senate voted on Wednesday to urge the government to recognize the disputed Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh …

PARIS (AP) – The French Senate voted on Wednesday to urge the government to recognize the disputed Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic.

The symbolic resolution does not mean that the French government will recognize a sovereign Nagorno-Karabakh, but sends a message of support to the large Armenian community in France. No country recognizes the region, on which Armenia and Azerbaijan have disagreed for decades, as independent.

The vote comes as the French government, French cities and aid groups have stepped up efforts to help people fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh in recent days. A French cargo flight arrived in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Monday with medical and other assistance, and another flight is scheduled for Friday.

Nagorno-Karabakh is located in Azerbaijan but has been under the control of Armenian ethnic forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. This war left Nagorno-Karabakh itself and a significant surrounding territory to the hands of the Armenians.

Fighting erupted again in September, killing hundreds, if not thousands, of people, until a truce negotiated by Russia two weeks ago. The agreement stipulated that Armenia cede control to Azerbaijan over certain areas it holds outside the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh. The last handover of the land took place on Wednesday.

The French resolution calls on the government to “recognize the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and to use this recognition as an instrument of negotiations for the establishment of a lasting peace”. He also urges the government to continue a tougher European response to Turkey, which has supported Azerbaijan in the conflict, and an international investigation into war crimes.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly criticized France for supporting Armenia in the dispute.

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